The Yema Navygraf should come with a tag: 'Objects depicted are smaller than they appear' (Photo: Jeff Li / IBTimes)

Who is the Yema Navygraf Heritage for?

  • It's 39 mm makes the watch small enough not to be cumbersome to wear, and its solid construction makes it comfortable and reliable enough to be worn daily
  • The classy and elegant aesthetics makes the Navygraf a great dress watch for formal while still being a manly accessory

When you're in love with automatic watches, there are a few things that you'd talk yourself into compromising with. There is the regular winding, the servicing, but the thing that is probably the hardest to wrestle with is the bulk and heft of some of these beautiful timepieces. I mean, they are half the reason why you're wearing these amazing dive watches in the first place, the chunk of steel, sapphire crystal lens and a fully mechanical precision machine inside - it's the signature of masculinity, but it comes at a price (and weight).

The honest truth is that there is some downside to wearing big metal watches. The crown often digs into the back of my left hand - especially the sharply knurled ones - you know the ones; the watch body is too thick to fit my shirt cuffs over, and sometimes even my jacket cuffs are too small for these mechanical mammoths. It results in the watch being constantly pushed towards the back of my wrist. Are crown blisters supposed to be a mark of manliness?

But hey, that's the price to pay for automatics right? Real men shouldn't be whining about such 'minor' inconveniences, instead, they should focus on smoldering while wearing an amazing timepiece on their wrist.

That's what I used to think - until I found the Yema Navygraf Heritage.

Elegant but not your typical dress watch (Photos: Jeff Li / IBTimes)

At first, what caught my eye was its bright yellow alpha profiled second hand, which I firmly believe should be the shape of all watch second hands. Coupling that with pencil watch hands for the minute and hour - I've got one of my favorite hand combos. But what I truly appreciated about this watch would only hit me when I came to hold it in person.

Extremely comfortable steel bracelet on a 17 cm wrist (Photos: Jeff Li / IBTimes)

Compact and tough

The Navygraf is surprisingly small, which shouldn't be surprising since it's a 39 mm watch on paper. However, the reason why it feels small is because it has a rugged diver watch design. What seems in the photos a full-blown diver watch in real-life is actually a miniature but handsome dress watch sized timepiece.

This watch is not a skin-deep diver watch however, as an re-issued watch from the 1970's, Yema has increased its capacity to go 300 m. Together with sapphire crystal lens and bezel, this is a watch that I would be comfortable to wear on a daily basis - both in how tough it's built, and in how comfortable it's smaller stature feels on the wrist.

Over the few weeks I've had the Navygraf, it has never caused any problem with any cuffs, even on dress shirts and bomber jackets. It has made me a believer in 39 mm diver watches.

16 mm solid steel links (Photos: Jeff Li / IBTimes)

Elegant steel band

The diver/dress watch theme continues in the steel band, and the consistency in design is both satisfying and classy. The rugged solid link steel band starts off 18 mm at the lug and tapers off to 16 mm at the clasp - which gives off a certain elegance.

Mini-adjustment that provided the perfect fit (Photos: Jeff Li / IBTimes)

The clasp deserves a special mention, as the mechanism is solid steel and not sheet metal. I highly appreciate the mini-adjustment that the clasp allows, which made the band fit perfectly around my wrist. Without exaggerating, these are the most comfortable steel bands that I have worn, and will be a benchmark that I use to measure all future steel bands against.

Classy details (Photos: Jeff Li / IBTimes)

The finer details

Coming back to the main display of the watch, the beautiful hands design looks even better in person, mostly due to its sweeping second hand - very smooth motion from Yema's in-house caliber MBP 1000.

Orange and yellow combo (Photos: Jeff Li / IBTimes)

The indexes are in a signature 'exclamation' mark, which actually forms a second concentric circle, adding a subtle and tasteful detail to the overall watch dial. The orange dial complements the yellow hands in a unique color scheme to the Navygraf, and is made more prominent because of the matt black watch face.

Sapphire crystal bezels (Photos: Jeff Li / IBTimes)

Instead of having a full metal or ceramic bezel, another signature feature on the Navygraf is the sapphire glass inlaid stainless steel rotating bezel. The 0-60 indexes under the glass have a classic bone colored tint to them, and are lumed. At the 12 o'clock position on the bezel is an upside-down triangle inlaid with a lumed semi-sphere.

Yema Navygraf in the dark (Photos: Jeff Li / IBTimes)

Final remarks

The Yema Navygraf is a combination of large automatic diver watch features packed in a small 39 mm form, with absolutely no compromise. The result is a watch handsome enough for those formal occasions, and rugged (not to mention comfortable) enough to be a daily. It even has a sub-$800 price tag to match, making it reachable for most watch enthusiasts. The Navygraf is one of my personal favorite watches to be worn daily on the market right now.

David is a tech enthusiast/writer who is often on the move and is on a mission to explore ways to make his overhaul flights more enjoyable. This is a contribution to an ongoing IBTimes review series on gadgets for Business Travellers.